The positive effects of the Grand Alliance shipping consortium’s move to the Port of Tacoma were again showing in port container volume figures released Friday.
Those figures show the port handled 195,718 container units last month, some 36.9 percent greater than the same month last year.
The Grand Alliance, a shipping partnership among four lines, NYK, OOCL, Hapag-Lloyd and Zim, moved its operations to the Port of Tacoma from Seattle in July. Two other associated shipping partnerships providing service to the Mediterranean and to the South Pacific also moved to Tacoma at the same time. The Grand Alliance carriers share cargo capacity in service between Asia and the West Coast.
The Grand Alliance’s higher numbers are also bringing up the year-to-date totals for containers. Through September, the Port of Tacoma’s container numbers are up 11.3 percent over the first nine months of 2011.
While container volumes were increasing dramatically, other cargo categories are a mix of ups and downs.
Breakbulk shipments, cargo too large or oddly shaped to be shipped in standard containers, were up 83.5 percent through September, but log exports from the port were down 41.3 percent for the year due in part to softer demand in China.
Auto volumes were off 4.3 percent, and grain exports were down 8.7 percent, port figures show. Gypsum imports, on the other hand, were up by 109.4 percent.
Meanwhile at the Port of Seattle, the departure of the Grand Alliance is having a noticeable effect. September container numbers there were down 15.1 percent.
Collectively, the container numbers at the ports of Tacoma and Seattle are up 9.4 percent for September.John Gillie: 253-597-8663 firstname.lastname@example.org